I travel between 200 and 250 days a year, and I can’t tell you where I’d be without my five favorite travel apps that I think every frequent flier should be using:
Cost: Free, TripIt Pro: $49 annually
TripIt is pretty much my life. The app is free, although I do pay the additional $49 for TripIt Pro, which provides added features such as flight delay and gate changes and even security line wait times. It will alert me when it’s time to check in for the next flight—basically an on-the-fly personal assistant!
For most folks, the free version would be just fine. You can simply paste your travel information into the app, and it’s perfectly organized into an easy to follow itinerary. It provides hotel and rental car info, and any notes or other information needed for my trip. It syncs with my Apple Watch so I know what “upcoming events” I have to look forward to, and it syncs with almost any calendar app.
Another plus is that you can share your app with others so they also know what your plans are, what flights your on, and where you’re staying. It will even send them updates if you’d like. I LOVE TRIPIT! It’s the single best travel app I’ve ever used.
Of all the review sites (and I’ve used just about all of them) I still like TripAdvisor the best. With more than 650 million honest reviews, I haven’t found it to be flawless, but it’s better than the others. I use it when planning a trip (lodging and activities in the area), and then when I'm on my trip and come into a new area, it will let me know of the top activities in the area. I use it to verify restaurants I’m considering, and to see what people say about activities, and even retail shops in my destination.
I love the fact that just about every new car out there now has Apple CarPlay compatibility. The navigation systems that come preloaded into a car’s navigation system are flat-out horrible and are typically several years out of date. That’s beginning to change, but the maps on your phone will be FAR more accurate, include live traffic updates, detours, and area actually far easier to use—especially when you’re in a rental car you don’t know as well as your own car. I love simply saying, “Hey Siri, provide directions to the nearest Starbucks.”It is easy, quick, and I’ll be given choices within a few seconds—all without taking my eyes off the road.
A couple of years back I was heading from Seattle to see my folks out along the Washington coastline. Unfortunately, a train had literally jumped off its track, landing on Interstate 5 southbound, which was closed. Google Maps had no idea and would have taken me through the train wreck. Apple Maps, however, knew about the situation (it had just happened a few hours earlier) and routed me around to the east. But as I got closer, it noticed that heading west would actually save me some additional time, as traffic started to backup eastbound. Apple Maps directed me to go the new, shorter route.
I used to carry around a portable Garmin unit. One less thing to carry around with me!
Cost: Free, Ad-free: $3.99
I’ve tried about 20 different weather apps, but I always come back to the Weather Channel app. You can customize it to your preferences, it will inform you of weather alerts at your current location, and back home (or anywhere else for that matter). It will show you, in real time, storm and cloud tracks, and will give you forecasts that are eerily accurate.
For me, I hate the irritating ads so I pay the $4 to be rid of them. There’s a lot of things to see in the app. Why clutter it up with ads?
When I’m on the road, my phone is my life. At night I use the WAKE app, which is my clock and my alarm clock. Knock on wood, it’s never let me down! I can chose the wake-up sound, the brightness of the clock which also acts as a night light—very handy when you’re in an unfamiliar hotel room and need to use the facilities during the night.